SiriusXM FC threw a curveball at listeners this week with a new program lineup that mostly maintains the same familiar hosts but pairs many of them with different partners and new time slots. This is the first significant shakeup at the station in years refreshes the network’s programming and gives listeners something a little different.

Surely there are things each listener likes about the changes and others they will lament. As a West Coast subscriber, I am disappointed that I will hear less of Tom Rennie, who is now on the air from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. in my time zone. Yet, I look forward to the return of the Tony Meola-Brian Dunseth partnership at midday.

My biggest fear is the impact the changes may have on one-on-one interviews conducted by Jason Davis on his United States of Soccer program. Sirius canceled the show and moved Davis to a different show. As a result, Davis joins Eric Wynalda for Wynalda Talks Football (WTF) in the afternoons.

I have listened to Jason Davis since his pre-Sirius days when his Soccer Morning show would air on World Soccer Talk and in podcast form. As Davis mentioned on the final United States of Soccer program, he has conducted hundreds, or more likely thousands, of interviews with players, coaches, front office staff, owners, and journalists since that time. Davis developed into one of the better soccer interviewers in the American media landscape.

The full daily lineup of talk shows on Sirius XM FC has some major changes to the content on offer.
The full daily lineup of talk shows on Sirius XM FC has some major changes to the content on offer.

The full daily lineup of talk shows on Sirius XM FC has some major changes to the content on offer.

Jason Davis’s interviews on SiriusXM stand out among the rest

Davis has a deep knowledge of the US soccer landscape that he brings to the interviews. In addition to MLS and the U.S. Men’s National Team, he has closely covered women’s soccer and the US Women’s National Team, the U.S. Open Cup, lower division American soccer, the politics of U.S. soccer, and even college and amateur soccer.

That knowledge combines with his conversational approach. Davis elicits more from his interview subjects than most other hosts at SiriusXM FC. There is a recognizable preparation Davis puts forth before each interview. Consequently, each discussion has greater depth. Davis asks good questions and follows up on those questions. Oftentimes, an answer from a guest is incomplete or demands a further question. Davis never fails to draw out the important information and leads to the next part of the discussion. He generally covers all of the relevant topics with each guest. Rarely do listeners leave feeling questions went unanswered.

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Other hosts at the station, many of whom are great in their own right, are not natural interviewers. They approach their guests differently. It can be fun listening to former athletes talk with current athletes or coaches. Guests can seem more open with hosts they have played with or against. However, the discussions tend to not be nearly as comprehensive as Davis’s interviews. Plus, it is strange to hear a host who has played in multiple World Cups ask a journalist to assess how the U.S. Men’s Team played last night.

Changes to his program

Another important factor in the Jason Davis interviews on SiriusXM is the one-on-one nature. Most of the network’s other shows have two hosts who jointly interview guests. They trade off to ask questions. While this tactic may lead to different viewpoints, interviews with more than two people can be disjointed. Both hosts must follow the thread of the other to ensure a cohesive discussion transpires. Davis caters to his interviews with follow-up questions that allow the conversation to flow naturally.

This is what I fear will happen with the new WTF. Eric Wynalda draws in different reactions based on his personality. I think it is fair to say that he is not always completely prepared or focused on the radio. Davis is talented enough as a broadcaster to get an interview back on track after Wynalda’s tangents. Still, what could be a good interview in the hands of Davis will be more likely to go off the rails due to Wynalda’s involvement.

We can hope that is not the case. Instead, SiriusXM FC and the producers of WTF must recognize that Davis brings something different to the interview format than many of his fellow hosts at the station. They must create the space for him to continue doing so.